Walking in New York City may be a way of life, but pedestrians still face serious risks of a motor vehicle accident at any time, especially when drivers are reckless or negligent. Pedestrian accidents are a serious safety threat, and the risk is growing. In 2018 alone, 6,283 pedestrians were killed in severe car accidents, marking the highest number of fatalities since 1990. This is a 35% increase from the numbers of pedestrians harmed in crashes 10 years before. There may be a number of factors involved, including an increase in distracted driving, which makes it easier than ever for drivers to miss pedestrians ahead.

Some researchers have raised serious concerns about how class, race and gender affect the likelihood of motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians. In a study to assess the risk of pedestrian accidents, they found that drivers with more expensive vehicles were less likely to come to a stop for pedestrians in crosswalks than those with less expensive cars. They also found that drivers of all cars were more likely to stop for female or white pedestrians and less likely to stop for male or black pedestrians crossing the street. In all cases, the study measured pedestrians crossing at crosswalks, which are locations designed for pedestrian safety where they have the right of way.

The researchers urged greater public attention to the issue and education about pedestrians’ rights. They also encouraged further study to determine whether drivers were unaware of the law or simply reckless about the potential dangers of ignoring pedestrians ahead. Only 28% of drivers overall yielded for pedestrians in the study.

If pedestrians are hit in a car accident, they may face catastrophic injuries and lifelong disabilities. A personal injury attorney may help injured pedestrians to pursue compensation for their lost wages, medical bills and other damages.